February 22 Mon 11:30 am “The Interview” Channel 41 Action News
February 23 Tues  9:00 am  Up To Date with Steve Kraske KCUR 89.3 - NPR
February 23 Tues  6:30 pm  Interview with Mayor Quinton Lucas Rainy Day & Public Library
     Rainy Day Books          Library - register for Brooks-Lucas event

website for the book: www.bindingustogetheralbrooks.com/

or use AlvinLBrooks.com

Vern with a pre-publication copy of the book 2021 Jan 22, The book's publication date was Feb 23.
Now available at Wise Blood Booksellers, 300 Westport Rd, (816) 800-6014.
When I came to Kansas City in 1975, I heard about someone speaking the truth about the racial situation, and I soon heard him speak in person. As the years passed, I came to know Al Brooks and understand why he was so important to the community and beyond. 
     On Sept 11, 2001 Al attended the press conference of the Interfaith Council that horrible day, and I cherish the time I had with him later at the AdHoc building. CRES recognized Al with our Thanksgiving award in 2002 for "his work as a citizen and career of public service locally and internationally celebrating religious pluralism and the human spirit." Little did I imagine that about three ago, Al would send me episodes to edit in what would become this magnificent book. 
     For me Al is a spiritual entrepreneur. He sees needs and understands them as opportunities for service to others, in countless individual situations as well as in the public sphere. This book gives us a close-up of pivotal events with insights into the man who turned those events toward justice.
Andrews McMeel YouTube Channel
Bill Pryor

Bill Tammeus
Al Brooks

Part 1: Book title

Part 2: Racism in Career

Part 3: Founding AdHoc

Part 4: White friends as a kid

Part 5: Best thing to happen

Part 6: Drugs

Part 7: Faith Journey

Other Brooks videos:
Beyond Belief
History & Hope 
Binding Us Together
Oral History Interview
Conversations: Alvin Brooks
A Portrait in Black Leadership
Alvin L. Brooks is a former Kansas City police officer, councilman, and mayor pro-tem, as well as the founder of the community organization AdHoc Group Against Crime. His decades of civil rights, violence prevention, and criminal justice advocacy led President George H. W. Bush to appoint him to the President’s National Drug Advisory Council and Governor Jay Nixon to appoint him to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. Brooks has also worked as a business consultant, motivational speaker, and lecturer, conducting hundreds of seminars about cultural/racial diversity, religious tolerance, and civil rights. He recently was named the 2019 Kansas Citian of the Year by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and he’s a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Award for Public Service. Brooks currently lives in Kansas City among family and friends.
From the Acknowledgments
      During an event, I mentioned I was writing my memoir. Afterward, a person asked if I had an editor. My response was, “No!” He said, “I would love to work with you pro bono. Your life seems so interesting, and it would be so worthwhile sharing it with others.” Almost three years ago, Vern Barnet joined the journey by editing hundreds of pages. Our favorite place to meet and discuss my writing was the Westport Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. The second-floor meeting room overlooked Vern’s home. I would watch Vern cross the street with the flash drive with my manuscript around his neck, and I always admonished him to look both ways! Thank you, my dear friend Vern."
In Binding Us Together, Alvin Brooks, Kansas City’s most beloved civil rights activist and public servant, shares a lifetime of stories that are heartfelt, funny, tragic, and inextricably linked to our nation’s past and present. Few people have faced adversity like Alvin Brooks. He was born into an impoverished family, nearly lost his adoptive father to the justice system of the South, and narrowly survived a health crisis in infancy. All the while, he was learning how to navigate living in a racist society. Yet by rising to these challenges, Brooks turned into a lifelong leader and a servant of his community. He shares personal anecdotes over the years about caring for his family, supporting Black youth, and experiencing historic events like the 1968 riots through his eyes. Told in a series of vignettes that follow pivotal moments in his life, Brooks’ uniquely personal yet influential story of activism and perseverance provides a hands-on guide for future generations. More relevant than ever to society today, his life’s work has been to better his community, make the world fairer for all, and diminish bias and discrimination. Alvin Brooks proves that a good heart, a generous spirit, and a lot of work can connect the world and bind us together.

 Vern congratulates Al after he was introduced as "Kansas Citian of the Year" at the greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in November 26, 2019. 

[Photo credit: Kyle Rivas]

Memoir update! August 3, 2020

BioVideo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aWxwuiWTnA

Photos (one with Vern) and story of the 2019 Nov 26 event, click here.

From the Kansas City Business Journal, 2019 November 27:

Alvin Brooks, who has worked tirelessly for equality and against crime for decades, was honored as the 2019 Kansas Citian of the Year.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named Brooks as the recipient of the award Tuesday, highlighting the chamber’s annual dinner. Chamber officials expected a crowd of as many as 1,800 for the event.

Brooks, 87, was one of the first African Americans to serve in the Kansas City Police Department, starting as an officer and eventually serving on the Kansas City Police Board. He founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, a nonprofit that works to make Kansas City neighborhoods safer by acting as a bridge between the community and the police.

Brooks long has been a leading local civil rights leader. He directed the Kansas City Human Relations Department soon after race riots in 1968. He also has served as Kansas City’s first black assistant city manager, a City Council member (1999-2003) and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2007. He now serves on the board of the Hickman Mills School District.

Former Mayor Kay Barnes, the 2018 Kansas Citian of the Year, presented the award to Brooks. He was mayor pro tem when Barnes was in office.

The selection of a peacemaker as Kansas Citian of the Year was a fitting close to a chamber dinner celebrating a truce in the development Border War between Missouri and Kansas. The governors of the two states were scheduled to appear at the dinner.

The annual dinner also serves as the official passing of the position of chamber chair. Carolyn Watley, vice president of community engagement for CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, officially takes over as chairwoman on Nov. 1, succeeding JE Dunn Construction Co. CEO Gordon Lansford.

Sit down with Alvin Brooks, Kansas Citian of the Year! - Hour 3 11/27/2019

For over three years, Vern has been working with Alvin L. Brooks to edit Al's Memoir. By August 1, 2020, the manuscript at 250,000 words, seemed complete enough to pass it on for the next stage in the publication process. During this time, Al was interviewed on KCUR for an hour portrait on air. Jen Chen summarized the appearance here.

Beyond Belief Web Extra | Kansas City Icon Alvin Brooks

Brooks was named the 2017 
"Outstanding Native Kansas Citian of the Year" by 
The Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City.

Faith in KC: A conversation with Alvin Brooks
Interview by Taylor Hemness, KSHB, Ch 41
Posted at 7:50 AM, Oct 12

inspiring leader
The Honorable Alvin Lee Brooks

Vern Barnet
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Vern Barnet, Photographer
Appointed representative of the subject of the photo, the Honorable Alvin L Brooks, for this purpose
2018 August 9
Kansas City, MO

This photograph was taken at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library


1932 May 3 Alvin Lee Brooks born, North Little Rock, AR
1935 May 24 Carol Rich born
1950 Mar 20 Mother Estella Brooks dies
1950 Graduates from R.T.Coles Vocational High School
1950 Aug 23 Marries Carol Rich
1954 June Joins KC Police Department
1961 June 8 Father Cluster Brooks dies
1964 October Leaves KC Police Department

1968 May 27 Appointed first Director of Human Relations Department, KC, 
          first Black KC Department head
1973 Masters in Sociology, UMKC
1975 Brooks travels to Israel with Jewish-Christian-Muslim seminar
        The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, July 4, 1975, page 13.

1977 AdHoc Group Against Crime formed

1984 Appointed Assistant City Manager, first Black in that role
        The Kansas City Star Magazine, August 19, 1984, page 8-28
1989 Appointed to President’s National Drug Advisory Council for three years 1990 Named one of America’s “1000 Points of Light” by President G. H. W. Bush

1999 Elected 6th District City Council Member, made Mayor Pro Tem
2003 Re-elected and re-appointed

2005 Missouri House honored Brooks in Resolution No. 3561 2007 Won primary, narrowly defeated in general for KC Mayor
        The Kansas City Star, March 28, 2007

2008 Re-energized AdHoc
2009 Named University of Missouri-Kansas City Alumnus of the Year

2010 Appointed by Governor to Board of Police Commissioners
2013 July 12 Carol Rich Brooks dies 2016 The City Council of the City of Kansas City, MO, declares May 3, 2016, as Alvin L.
Brooks Day in its Resolution No. 160372 2016 Brooks honored with the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award The Kansas City Star, April 5, 2016
2018 Resigns from Police Board and joins Hickman Mills School Board
See also Community Guardian Awards, AdHoc Group Against Crime, 2016, 
      pages 19-36 for a comprehensive biographical sketch.

Brooks appears in Tanner Colby's 2012 (Penguin) book
Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America.